Next to the question “How do you get started with affiliate marketing?” the one I get asked most is whether affiliate marketing is worth it. So many affiliates make a start at earning commissions, but never quite get to the level they’d hoped for.
Their assumption is that affiliates really don’t make much money and the advantages of affiliate marketing aren’t as great as everybody online makes them sound. But they are! While there are numerous advantages, these seven stand out:
1. You don’t have to create products
Digital marketers typically go in one of two directions: They either create their own products to sell or they become affiliates and sell other people’s / company’s products.
There are different levels of product creation, from a simple printable worksheet that sells for a few dollars to complex video-based courses with live sessions and full workbooks. The depth of work that goes into the product varies, but some issues are always present.
Creating your own products tends to be:
- Time-consuming — Whether your do the work yourself or source it out to someone else, time (and therefore money) is needed to generate the idea, organize the content, develop the content, finalize the format, produce the format, create the back end (shopping cart, delivery method, etc.), market the product, and so on. That can get lengthy and expensive.
- Risky — What if nobody buys your product? Unless you’ve pre-sold the course, you will have gone to all that trouble for nothing.
When you skip the product-creation step, that simply leaves marketing the course on your list.
Much less time is involved, and therefore, more profit.
2. You don’t have to pay merchant fees
In addition to the above drawbacks, product creation is also expensive. By the time you pay for software, tools, affiliate commissions, people to set up everything, marketing, and more, you’ve taken quite a bite out of your earnings.
However, as an affiliate, you get to keep 100% of what you earn. If your commission is 50% of a $49 course, you keep $24.50, not $24.50 minus merchant fees and other costs.
So, is affiliate marketing worth it? You bet!
3. You don’t have to provide customer support
Money is not the only reason affiliate marketing is worth your time and effort. All those product creators must also provide support for their customers. Whether they do it personally or have a team to handle these duties, a great deal of time is involved.
As an affiliate, you may get asked a question or two by those you promote to, but for the most part, all support will be the responsibility of the product creator.
4. Affiliate marketing is quick
In addition to monetary benefits, affiliate marketing is worth it because it can offer quick results. Instead of spending weeks or months creating and producing your own products, you can take several less-complicated approaches to reach your earning goals, including:
- Sending an email
- Starting a conversation in a Facebook group
- Putting a video on YouTube, Facebook, or Instagram
- Writing a blog post
- And many others.
Once your promotions are done and scheduled, you kick back and watch the sale notices pop up in your inbox.
5. Affiliate marketing is profitable
When I create my own products, I understand there will be fixed costs associated with the profit margin. For example, a $49 course I create will actually net me about $20 after all the expenses have been deducted.
But as an affiliate, if I sell a $49 course with a 50% commission, I walk away with $24.50. That’s an 18% increase over what I make on my own product. And there is a lot less work involved with affiliate marketing vs. product creation.
Despite what it may look like, I am not against product creation. In fact, I have an entire collection of digital courses I’ve developed and that I sell. There is absolutely a place for your own products if that is something you have an interest in pursuing.
But you don’t have to just because you believe that is the only way to earn income without selling hands-on services.
6. You can work whenever you want
When you sell services, you’re at the mercy of the clients you work for. Your time is theirs because (in one way or another) they have bought it.
Creating your own products is one step back from services, but you (or a member of your team) must still be available to answer questions, offer tech support, and so on.
With affiliate marketing, your time is your own. You can create your affiliate campaigns and schedule them at any time you choose. Then head to the beach, go to your child’s ballgame, take a three-hour shopping lunch with a girlfriend, trot off on a long weekend road trip, or anything else you choose.
Is affiliate marketing worth it? If freedom is a priority for you, the answer is “most definitely!”
7. There are multiple ways to set evergreen promotions
Still, if being able to create campaigns and schedule them far in advance isn’t freedom enough, you can take your promotions to a higher platform. Evergreen.
Evergreen affiliate promotions are those that you set up one time, and then they run forever. Perhaps you give away a free cheat sheet related to the affiliate product, then develop a funnel of emails to engage, inform, and convert those who opt in. As long as people can find the free offer, you’ll have a way to make commissions on autopilot 24/7/365. Forever.
Now that’s true freedom.
Common mistakes affiliates make
What you don’t want to do (typically) are the following. Does using these methods mean you won’t get any sales? No. But these tactics normally produce lower rates of return than others.
- Choosing the wrong products — The most important aspect of affiliate marketing is choosing products to promote that sync with your audience. If your followers aren’t interested in the products you promote, they won’t buy regardless of the offer or discount you give them.
- Hit-and-run — Publish one post on social platforms and nothing more. Social media travels at the speed of light. One tiny post may get a flurry of clicks, but it will usually be gone quickly.
- Waterfall lists — Sending lists of 10, 15, or 20 affiliate offers in a single email. It’s a lot for your readers to consume. The logic is sound… provide more offers and somebody will find something they want. But the reality is that these extensive lists don’t usually generate as many sales as focused emails.
Does affiliate marketing take effort? Yes.
Can affiliates earn a decent amount of money? Yes, if you’re willing to put in the effort.
Is affiliate marketing still worth it? I definitely think so! Over the last several years, I’ve averaged around 40% of my income from affiliate sales. It is possible when you use the right methods to connect your followers with the right products.